#GivingFinancialEducation

Ways to Support the Center for Smart Financial Choices

Become a Champion

Receive a FREE FINANCIAL WELLNESS checkup when you join! Your Membership makes it possible for us to deliver financial education to people of all ages.

To support CFSFC pay a membership fee of: $15 for students and senior citizens, $20 for individuals or $30 for the entire family.

Join Today

Donate

CFSFC provides its programs free to all youth in their schools.

  • Donations from $25-$100 provides healthy snacks & instructional materials
    • Help fund Financial Education Scholarships for first time college students
    • Participate in your company’s matching gift program doubles your gift to the Center
    • Enhance CFSFC’s capabilities to help more youth by donating monthly for as little as $10/month

Fund a Workshop

Volunteer

When we help others by volunteering our time and we see their appreciative response we feel better about ourselves.  We have a variety of volunteer opportunities available with varying time commitments.

Volunteer

Demand for Financial Education Increases

The demand for CFSFC financial education programs has been growing since we began working with youth in the Piedmont.

We have reached capacity and need additional resources (Volunteers & Funds) to continue financially educating youth in their schools at no cost.

 Number of Youths helped: 2013: 1,045; 2014: 1,121 2015: 2,713 2016: 3,482 2017: 3,400

financial education, financial literacy, budgeting, money, utilities, spend, future, college, youth, Ben Smith High School, Guilford County School District

Students from Ben Smith High School during Adult for A Day. (GCSD)

Youth workshops are designed to raise awareness of money, offer financial knowledge, recognize diverse attitudes around money, improve savings and budgeting skills and offer youth motivations to succeed in their future lives.

Financial education, financial literacy, money, Parkland Magnet School, Winston Salem Forsyth county Schools, planning

Their money habit is Planning. Parkland Magnet School (WSFCS)

Quality Programs make Learning Enjoyable

Workshops include our signature, Adult for A Day, Money Habitudes®, Good Credit Game®, FETCH®, and Going to College-Counting the Cost

 

 

Youth want to Save Money

financial education, banking, money, youth, financial literacy, spending, saving

 

Youth Learn the Basics of How Credit Works

credit, financial education, credit scores, financial literacy, youth

Adult for A Day and the Good Credit Game® help youth increase their understanding of the areas of life affected by credit and how saving money and paying bills on time are the most important things they can do to have a prosperous future.

Promoting Financial Education for all Youth

With an increasingly complex world, all youth from an early age need to understand how to save money, how to get money through education beyond high school and how to spend it wisely. These are the keys to “cultivating youth for a future of financial wellness.”

saving money, youth, financial education, Kernersville Elementary, Winston Salem Forsyth county schools, financial literacy, children, youth

Summer program through Winston Lakes YWCA-Kernersville Elementary

Contact CFSFC today to find out how you can support our youth! 

Donate Now

Invested in our Youth

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) has been committed to teaching youth about money and how it impacts their future. In 2014 through generous donations we incorporated a Financial Education Scholarship program that has aided over one hundred young adults on the road to a comfortable financial future.

In honor of our scholarship winners, CFSFC hosted a celebration on April 18, 2017 at the Enterprise Conference and Banquet Center. We are pleased to have had such an incredible turnout of over 100 children, parents, educators, college students and community partners who are dedicated to investing in our youth. Dr. Gwendolyn Johnson-Green, Director of WSFCSD Office of Alternative Education shared her feelings about the event when she said, “the guests and even our own Mayor and State Senator Paul Lowe were inspired by the real world Financial Literacy activities we participated in. The interaction with persons from all walks of life is always a treat.  We had a true representation of our community, all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities.”

There were so many highlights throughout the evening starting with our wonderful volunteers that showed up ready to teach money concepts at the various life stations we set up throughout the room. Every attendee was given an opportunity to participate in an interactive demonstration of being an “Adult for A Day” by visiting a variety of budget stations hosted by local businesses. A big thank you also goes to our many generous sponsors, like Donna Jones State Farm Insurance, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Power and Carolina’s Credit Union League. Continuing our scholarship program would not have been possible without their monetary donations, as well as, their friendly faces working the various stations.

Mayor Allen Joines graciously volunteered to be our scholarship certificate presenter. He arrived early to meet each candidate and learn about each one of them before the presentation. We all enjoyed showing him our budget stations, and our attendees truly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet him in person. Our scholarship winners were so grateful to have had him there to honor them as each happily posed for a ‘Kodak moment” while their parents and loved ones cheered them on!

Each year we meet an incredible number of teens and young adults who are striving to improve their lives by pursuing additional education. Their intelligence, perseverance and volunteerism truly makes us all proud to meet them. This year was no different, except that the four scholarships winners were all young women with a variety of strengths. The two youth scholarship winners, Anali Jacinto from Mount Tabor High School and Maria Valentina Roa from Davie High School boasted impressive GPA’s as well as a strong volunteer spirit. Our two young adult winners Elizabeth Vega-Orozco, current student at North Carolina A & T State University and Marianne Cruzat a student at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School are both in their final year of college.

Anali Jacinto plans to be the first in her family to attend college, pursuing a career in a math and science field at Randolph College. As a member of JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) for the past three years, she has also had the opportunity to give back to the community through a variety of service projects. Through attending the required financial education classes, she learned that “going to college is a big investment that costs a lot of money and if it is not researched sufficiently and planned for, a person can easily get into a lot of debt.” Congratulations to Anali Jacinto as the recipient of the Mel Hughes Youth Scholarship Award!

Maria Valentina Roa will be the first in her immediate family to attend college in the United States.  She is excited to pursue a career in dentistry. Maria showed great interest and enthusiasm at each financial education class. The selection committee was especially impressed by her academic performance in the multiple honors and advanced placement classes she has taken over the years. Additionally, she has shown great character by her long-term volunteerism at Novant Hospital, her church, various camps, and the Ronald McDonald House.  In response to the classes, Maria says: “I have now talked to my mom about her credit score, looked at and understand the different types of financial aid loans offered to me, and I’ve made sure my major is one that will be a positive investment for my future.” Please join me in congratulating Maria Valentina Roa as one of our $1,000 Youth Scholarship Winners!

Elizabeth Vega-Orozco, winner of the Hispanic/Latino Scholarship Award in the amount of $2,000 is one year away from graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering. The selection committee was particularly impressed by her grit and perseverance in balancing very difficult coursework while raising a three-year-old son and remaining in the top 10% of her class. She is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and has also volunteered with the Hispanic League and with the Annual Latinas Educating on Aids Awareness and Prevention Gala. She states that the education she received through the scholarship classes will “allow her to budget effectively in her final year of college to avoid further education debt and help her acquire assets as she becomes more financially stable.” CFSFC has no doubt that its investment in her education will bring wonderful returns on a variety of levels.

Marianne Cruzat, winner of the $2,000 Adult Scholarship, is diligent and committed to graduating from school debt-free. A current business student at UNC Chapel Hill, she was recently one of fifty students admitted to the Kenan-Flagler Business School and plans to spend the next year studying business abroad in Asia and Europe as a GLOBE Program Scholar. Since connecting with CFSFC last year during the scholarship competition, she has been faithful to stay in touch, volunteer when able, and serve as an advocate for financial education. Marianne, “wants to give back to the community and teach other students to be financially literate. She strongly recommends learning more about CFSFC and its incredible programs”. CFSFC is very excited to support her in the final years of her education and know that she will make great waves in the business world someday!  

Lisa Nakawatase, an educator for 15 years, currently at Forsyth Middle College and our guest speaker summed up the evening when she said, “this was one amazing event and I am beyond honored to have been involved!  Thank you all for your dedication and hard work to always make education BETTER!  I am extremely blessed to know and work alongside such passionate and incredible people!”

Fund our Scholarships

Investing in our Youth

Teens today face a multitude of challenges to reach adulthood including academic worries, depression, bullying, drugs and alcohol.  Despite those challenges, we are making headway in “cultivating youth for a future of financial wellness”.


Will I be able to save enough money?

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) shared knowledge on the role of additional education in improving the future prospects of over 3,400 youth in 2016. Each youth began building a framework of financial competency that will enable them to look forward to a stable life. The demand for financial education continues unabated and CFSFC is the only non-profit doing this work with youth.

We offered 163 workshops at 41 different locations in Forsyth, Stokes and Guilford counties. This would not have been possible without the help of 99 volunteers who donated 635 hours.

How will credit affect my future?

 

Volunteer Today!

 

 

 


What Teens Learned in 2016

CFSFC asked over 2,300 high school students to complete an evaluation of their learning while participating in the “Adult for A Day” budget and credit workshop. The average student was 16 years old, 49% were female and 51% were male.

Students were asked about their future plans and if they have spoken to their parents. Most students have talked about their college plans with their parents, although their expectations about how college will be paid for are unconfirmed. 

What changes will teens make in their financial habits?

  • 42% agreed to Track Expenses for One Week 
  •  58% will Change One Habit To Save Money 
  • 42%  Plan to Open A Savings Account   
  • 48% will consider more Classes to Make Good  Financial Choices

 


Financial Education Addresses the Future

Teaching children about money- how to manage it, save it and spend it wisely – is essential to making sure they are prepared for the financial world.
Teens were asked where they got their financial advice from and 86% percent reported they learned from their families. 

George Washington University economics professor Annamaria Lusardi has done pioneering research on financial literacy. Her studies have documented the gaps in financial knowledge among different demographic groups. “What the data on financial literacy shows is that financial knowledge is unequally distributed,” says Lusardi. “Those with the least knowledge are also the most vulnerable groups in economic terms.

Lusardi directs the Global Finance Literacy Excellence Center that focuses on raising the level of financial knowledge through financial-literacy education. “Finance has entered the lives of every family in a much more significant way than in the past. We now have a lot more responsibility for managing our money. Everyone needs to know the ABCs of finance,” notes Lusardi.


Join us in Investing in our Youth

We ask teens what other knowledge they need for a successful future and they told us:

  • Need help opening a savings or checking account
  • Information about different career choices
  • Help in getting a job now
  • Help applying for scholarships and grants
  • Strategies for spending less & saving more money

Here are a few lessons learned as shared by youth:

  • I have started tracking the amount of money I spend, and based on this, I change my bad habits of wasting money on unnecessary things.
  •  I have learned how to keep a proper budget so I have saved a lot more money. I also set up a checking and savings account after learning about them.
  • Well I’m not more willing to just spend money on whatever I want. I have to stop and ask myself do I really need this / want this and then I chose if I purchase the item or not. I have saved more and begun working towards saving for college.
  • The Center for Smart Financial Choices made me more aware of my options on how to pay for college and save up to pursue other goals of mine such as studying abroad. I am more aware of the importance of saving my money and look forward to it because I know that I am making an investment in my life!

On April 18, 2017, we will hold the Second Annual Day of Giving Event highlighting the value of investing in the financial education of our youth.

 Register now

 

Can we count on your financial support in helping our youth build better financial futures for themselves?

Donate Today!

Achieving Success through College

Participants in the Financial Education Scholarship Program share their success stories

Sarah Williams is not your traditional college student. When we first met, she was working full-time, a mother and wife. Sarah attended Forsyth Community College Online. She now works for a local financial institution preparing commercial loan packages. Sarah was the winner of the first Adult Financial Education Scholarship offered through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) in 2014.

Sarah shared the story of her resolve to graduate from college despite overcoming serious health issues.  By the time, she was entering her late 20’s, she wondered if she would still be able to go to college. Sarah said, “I put some serious thought into this and decided that not only did I want to set a good example for my daughter but I wanted my degree and to show myself that I could accomplish all my goals. If I never tried to get my degree because of cancer than I would be letting cancer win. It may not take my life but it would have taken my dreams. This was not option”. Sarah made college happen and graduated in May 2016.

Her daughter saw how hard she worked and that it wasn’t easy.  She has been making straight A’s and the family is considering the Early College of Forsyth program for her.  Her daughter is excited about this opportunity and hopes to be accepted. Sarah shared, “I know that my dedication to my studies set a good example for her and that makes me feel great!” Sarah is so thankful for the scholarship she received from CFSFC and how it helped her achieve her dream of getting a college education.

Greetings from UNC Charlotte! My name is Tyriq Evans, and I am a Sophomore Mathematics Major, planning to Minor in Secondary Education. I graduated from East Forsyth High School. I was one of the 2015 Financial Education Scholarship winners through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC).

I have been involved in several on-campus activities since I began life here in the fall of 2015:”Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band; University Honors Program and Building Better Brothers (B3) a program primarily for minority males. Mentoring is our main activity. We also engage in social activities and have rap sessions to discuss relevant topics concerning the community and world around us.

My most memorable experience so far has been attending the LeaderShape® Institute with UNC Charlotte. LeaderShape® is a weeklong immersion program where individuals develop their leadership skills, while working to shape their visions for their future.

Although I haven’t traveled outside of the United States yet, I plan to go to London, England this year with the Multicultural Academic Services.  I will receive academic credit and take time to visit the famous attractions of England.

Thanks to CFSFC, I have been able to budget in several aspects of my college life. Renting my textbooks has saved me money which is allocated towards my tuition. Also, I tutor other students in Calculus. Tutoring has given me experience for my major and some extra change for my pocket. I am forever grateful for the Center for Smart Financial Choices for their support during my journey through college!

My name is Marianne Cruzat and I am a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in business administration and minoring in entrepreneurship and urban planning. I participated in the 2016 Financial Education Scholarship program through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC).

At Chapel Hill, I am treasurer for the Filipino American Student Association. I am working to get Innovation Ambassadors running, a program that will foster interdisciplinary innovation and allow students to innovate and start their own startups. Besides the entrepreneurship programs that I’m a part of, I am also interning at Groundwork Labs, a 3-month program that helps accelerate pre-seed startups toward their next goal.

Since I am hungry to immerse myself in other cultures and experience the rest of the world, I applied to Kenan-Flagler Business School’s prestigious GLOBE program. Fortunately, I was accepted and next year, I will be spending my entire junior year abroad! I will be in Copenhagen in the fall and Hong Kong in the spring and will be traveling to many other foreign cities in between to learn more about business and the world.

In my free time, I try to give back to my community by volunteering at places such as Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) and working with my former high school (Early College of Forsyth) to better prepare students for college. I also love to take photographs of people and landscapes around me.

So far, my most memorable experience in college was when I studied abroad this past summer. I was fortunate enough to travel to Southeast Asia and visit Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. I was able to immerse myself in the culture and learn about the globalization of Chinese food through the Chinese diaspora. As cliche as it sounds, this experience truly changed my life.

I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with CFSFC not only because I have the wonderful opportunity to give back but it also taught me a lot about my own finances! I’m able to transfer what I’ve learned to my own life, including finding funding and saving up for my study abroad programs and college in general.

Sign up for this great opportunity today! 2017 Scholarship Program

Youth-Our Future Promise

The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.

President John F. Kennedy acknowledged that the present prospects of our youth will affect the future.  How are we doing in this area? Youth unemployment is very high for those 16-24 without advanced education.  Millions of youth are unable to find full-time opportunities that match their skills, or use their formal job training or education. All of this comes at great cost to the future with college graduates holding a diploma and an enormous financial burden of credit card and student loan debt.

One key to building a strong future for youth is increasing their financial capabilities. The economic system of the world today requires youth to be taught how to handle money at home and in school. Organizations like the Center for Smart Financial Choices, Junior Achievement, NC Jump$tart, banks and credit unions work to help youth through financial literacy initiatives.

One of our scholarship participants Miah shared what she wants for her future, “College is a time to learn, discover, find myself and create new paths. One thing I will work to not discover, find or create is unnecessary debt because I want total control in my choices, life and future.”

 Help Miah and other youth like her succeed by contributing to our #GivingTuesday campaign.

 GIVE NOW!

CFSFC helps start youth on the path to financial competency by introducing and expanding on the basic concepts of: Earn, Spend, Save/Invest, Borrow and Protect. Our workshops offer this education beginning at age ten and continue through college. We help prepare high school seniors for the cost of going to college through our Financial Education Scholarship Program.

Fifth Graders explore budgeting

Fifth Graders explore budgeting

To “cultivate our youth for a future of financial wellness” requires all of us to strive to share positive personal finance knowledge before they move to full adulthood. This is a crucial life skill that will ensure a comfortable financial future for all youth.

2016 Scholarship Winners Announced

The Center for Smart Financial Choices S.A.P. P. Institute is pleased to announce the five winners from its 2016 Financial Education Scholarship competition. After a lengthy and formal review by our selection committee, the following applicants were chosen based on their hard work and potential to succeed in higher education.

Winners-2016

The adult scholarship award of $2000 goes to Stephanie Martin, a current freshman at UNC Chapel Hill working towards a BS in Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Medical Anthropology. The selection committee was particularly impressed with her realistic yet ambitious vision for her future in the medical field, her strong articulation of financial lessons learned and the value of the scholarship classes, and her dedication to community service and demonstration of leadership skills. They have no doubt that she will make it in the medical field and felt confident awarding her the $2000 to help her achieve her educational goals.

Greizy Beckles is the recipient of our Hispanic/Latino scholarship award of $2000. Greizy is in her second year at UNC Greensboro pursuing a degree in Social Work with hopes of being able to give back to her community. The selection committee was impressed by this young lady’s practical and meaningful essay which highlighted the steps she has already taken to building and maintaining good credit and utilizing a budget to plug spending leaks. She is living out the principle of saving more money than she spends in order to become financially stable.

The top youth scholarship award of $2000 goes to Marie Carroll, a young lady currently attending West Forsyth High School with plans of attending either UNC Chapel Hill or Northwestern University to pursue a BA in Economics. From being an accomplished cello player to studying Korean in Seoul for a summer to being the President of the Science Honors Society, she will be entering college with a wide array of life experiences and accomplishments—including an unweighted GPA of 3.98. The selection committee admired her detailed plan for saving money during college and graduating without extreme debt and were thrilled to offer her the $2000 award to continue her educational dreams.

One of our $1000 youth scholarship awards goes to Jake Gigliotti, a current student at Early College of Forsyth County with plans to attend either UNC Chapel Hill or Princeton to study Biology. He will be graduating high school with an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and the selection committee had no misgivings about his ability to complete a difficult course of study at either of these prestigious universities. They were impressed with his drive, leadership and volunteer experience including being an Eagle Scout and the Treasurer for his school’s National Honor Society.

The second winner of our $1000 youth scholarship award goes to Jake Browne, a young man at Reagan High School who plans to pursue a degree in Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill. The selection committee was impressed with his creative and strategic plan for completing college without a burdensome debt load; as the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Forsyth County, he hopes to use his experience in political advocacy, leadership and money management skills to help navigate through the next four years of college.

We are very proud of the winners, as well as all 33 applicants who completed the process, and hope that everyone will continue to make smart financial choices as they pursue their education goals. Congratulations 2016 Scholarship winners!

2016 Scholarship Opportunity Available for Adults & High School Seniors

 

SAPP-CFSFC_web_001

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) is excited to announce its third year of providing scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and adult college students. Through the Mary Carol Sapp & Johnston Financial Education Scholarship Program, a total of $8,000 is available to eligible students for the 2016 – 2017 school year.

The distinguishing piece of this scholarship program is the requirement of all applicants to attend financial education classes offered by the Center. “The aim is not just to provide funds to pay for college, but to also cultivate financial competencies that will stick with each applicant long after they graduate from college,” says Leslie Moser, Youth Program Educator for the Center.

The initial deadline to apply for the scholarship opportunity and to submit the $15 membership fee to the Center is February 25th, 2016. The secondary deadline to complete classes and submit supplemental information (transcripts, acceptance letter, summary of achievements, essay) is April 18th, 2016.

Last years winners

Last years winners

The scholarships offered include:

  • One $2,000 award for any youth planning on attending college
  • Two $1,000 awards for any youth planning on attending college.
  • One $2,000 award for any Hispanic/Latino youth planning on or attending college for a first bachelor’s degree
  • One $2,000 award for any adult pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree

Applicants will be evaluated by the Center’s selection committee based on demonstrated academic ability (minimum unweighted GPA of 3.0), personal achievements, community involvement, and demonstrated writing ability in a 500-word essay written in response to the required financial education classes.

“As an organization that strives to teach youth how to make smart financial decisions and avoid debt, it only makes sense that we should offer the tools and resources to help students achieve these goals. The Center is so excited to be able to offer two additional scholarships this year and we hope to get a surplus of applicants who wish to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Leslie Moser.

If you are a college-bound high school senior or an adult currently pursuing further education, download the initial application form- Application for Scholarship Opportunity-2016 to make the most of this great opportunity!button-application

Scholarship Applicants Raise Their Financial IQ

One of the requirements in competing for the 2015 Johnston Financial Education scholarship was for applicants to attend two financial education classes.  This year, thirty-three individuals applied for one of three scholarships. Twenty-nine individuals, six (6) adults; nine (9) Hispanic/Latinos; and fifteen (15) youth completed all requirements.

Many of the applicants faced obstacles in attempting to go to college or paying to finish their schooling. Several faced legal barriers to financial aid and almost all of the applicants work part-time or at multiple jobs to finance their education.  Yet this is a goal for all of them as they echo what Paula said ‘Going to college is just the door step to where I see myself in the future. College will prepare me with knowledge, experiences, and skills … I believe I know what comes first in my life, and college is definitely one of them’.

The first class, ‘Going to College-Counting the Cost’ revealed the true cost of college and tips that all individuals can use to reduce their reliance on student loans. This class was featured on Time Warner Cable Channel 14 Money Matters in April. http://www.twcnews.com/stories/2015/04/28/m/money-matters-paying-for-college.html

Two other classes, ‘Finding Money for Free’ and ‘Money Habitudes®’ gave applicants ideas on how to keep better track of their money and helped them developed a better understanding of their habits and attitudes around money.  All the participants gained a solid financial foundation to guide them as they move forward in life.

College1a

Jessica said, ‘to help avoid unnecessary debt … I am going to make a plan to see what I spend my money on. After that I will begin writing down if I NEED the item or if I WANT it. Being that I am a spontaneous shopper, (thank you money habitudes!) I think coming up with this plan will help me cut down on all the things I don’t need to buy right at the moment.’

Greicy shared the confidence she and the other students will need in facing their future when she said, ‘I am confident that I can exhibit the restraint and the discipline required to commit to my budget and avoid falling into unnecessary debt in college. These positive habits will not only alleviate financial matters, but will also help me build the confidence and character necessary to become a fiscally responsible and independent adult.’College4

Miah summed up their learning experience when she stated, ‘College is a time to learn, discover, find myself and create new paths. One thing I will work to not discover, find or create is unnecessary debt because I want total control in my choices, life and future…I am thankful for learning that from classes at the Center for Smart Financial Choices.’

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU & MAY YOUR FUTURE BE EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IT CAN BE!